Freedom of Choice in Steinbeck's East of Eden Essay

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Our circumstances do not determine our lives. Instead, our lives are determined by our choices. That is not to say that our lives are not impacted by the country in which we were born, the family which we were born to, or the tragedies which touched our lives. We are given a choice of how we respond to those things, and the power of choice means that the lessons and value of our lives is not determined by outside influences, but instead it is determined by our reaction to those influences. In the novel, East of Eden by John Steinbeck theorizes that all individuals have the freedom to make choices in order to triumph over evil. Steinbeck demonstrates this by his use of the word timshel, the word, which translates to “thou mayest,” is …show more content…
Adam was clearly an Abel, good to the core. In contrast, Charles, his jealous brother, was a Cain figure. Adam’s set of twins took on characteristics of good and evil also. Aron, the fair-haired child, was considered the good son throughout most of the novel. He was his father’s favorite and Abra’s true love. The dark Cal, on the other hand, was jealous and mean. He believed throughout most of the novel that he was incapable of goodness and was condemned to the wickedness of his mother. Ironically, by the end of the novel, Cal became a good son and received his father’s blessings. Through the teachings of Lee, the family servant, Cal had learned that he had the freedom to choose goodness over evil. Cathy, the twin’s mother, insists that there is only evil in the world, and immersed herself into taking advantage of other people’s flaws and weaknesses. Cathy also had that freedom of choice, but she always made the wrong decision and remained the totally evil character throughout the novel. People are better off believing that their lives are filled with choices. They do not get the luxury of blaming their circumstances on external factors. We all decide how we respond to life's challenges, and there are excellent examples of people all around us who have found ways to overcome the most difficult troubles of birth and life. At the end of the day, we all choose. This is a principle that should be reinforced
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